Registration Open

Nonpartisan Leadership Summit of NJ Latinos at Berkeley College

-The second such gathering in twenty years-

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New Jersey (February 6, 2019).–With the theme Present & Clear / Presente y Claro, the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey (LLANJ) sets out to hold its second statewide leadership gathering in twenty years. The first took place in 1999, when over 400 Latino leaders in academia, business, government, sciences, law enforcement, and public service convened at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, to found LLANJ.

“It is time for people from diverse communities rooted in New Jersey to come together for the second historic nonpartisan summit of Latino leaders who are CLEAR and committed to say PRESENTE; we are committed to active participation, discussion of our socio-economic reality, strategizing, planning and supporting the work of LLANJ and like organizations advocating for empowerment, equality, and the inclusion of all,” said LLANJ President Nestor Montilla, Sr. “The Summit creates an unprecedented non-partisan platform for New Jersey Latinos to set an all-encompassing strategic policy agenda to advocate for the socio-economic and political advancement of the state diverse populations.”

The Summit’s program, to be carried out on Saturday, March 2, 2019 from 8:30AM to 3:00PM at Berkeley College, 44 Rifle Camp Road, Woodland Park, NJ 07424, includes two plenary sessions and breakout roundtable discussions on education, economic development, faith-based initiative, and representation. It also features a youth leadership pow-wow with Perth Amboy and Paterson High School Students.

The Summit will open with a breakfast plenary session. LLANJ Founding President Martin Perez, Esq. will open with a brief recount of LLANJ twenty-year history mobilizing, advocating and empowering NJ diverse communities. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal will talk about public safety and civil rights. LLANJ Civil Rights and Public Safety Committee Co-Chair Richard Rivera will talk about LLANJ investigative reports reviewing police conduct, use of force and how police departments investigate citizen complaints. Senator Thomas Kean, Jr. will speak about the upcoming redistricting process and fair political representation.

The breakfast plenary forum will be followed by concurrent roundtable workshops designed for open discussions on a variety of issues. The roundtables will be led by experts in their fields. Resulting policy recommendations will be included in LLANJ’s advocacy agenda.  Featured roundtable workshops and panelists include:

Education. This workshop will focus on discussions about thestatus of NJ Latinos in education and innovative methods of guaranteeing a thorough and efficient education for all New Jersey students. Participants: LLANJ delegates Patricia Bombelyn, and Nelly Celi, NJ Education Commissioner Manny Martinez, Elis Sosa and Consuelo Bonillas, Ph.D. from Kean University, Dario Cortes, Ph.D. from Berkeley College, Carlos Fernandez, Ph.D. from Rutgers University, Dr. Ivan Lamourt from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School. Guillermo “Will” de Veyga, Ph.D. from New Jersey City University.

Faith-based Initiative. This roundtable will raise awareness about the importance of building a coalition and a network of faith-based leadership, organizations and civic leaders to advance the Latino/Hispanic Agenda in their respective communities. Participants: LLANJ delegates Rev. Jose Lopez, and Rev. John Muniz, Rev. Jose Martinez, RVC President, Rev. Cleo Santiago, Rev. Joshua Rodriguez, Jose F. Medina-Lasso, Jose Rafael Martinez, Rev. Jesus Sevilla, Rev. Julio Roman, and Passaic Mayor Hector Lora.

Economic Development. This workshop will addressthe contributions and challenges of the New Jersey small business community.  Participants: SHCC President Luis de la Hoz, LLANJ delegate, Jose Colon from BP Bank, Carmen Loran, Jaime Lucero, CEO of Gold & Silver, Inc., Eleazar Bueno, Alminda D’Agostino, Horizon NJ Health, Gregorio Antonio Luciano, John Estevez from FoodTown Supermarkets, and Maria Trusa, CEO of Forme Health Care.

Representation. This multifaceted roundtable forum offers a rare opportunity for diverse Latino leaders to come together for the purpose of discussing fairpolitical representation, identifying challenges faced on their pursuit for inclusion and equal opportunities, and to agree on a policy agenda. This multifaceted roundtable includes several concurrent discussions spearheaded by leaders healing from NJ diverse Latino communities. Confirmed participants will represent Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Central America and several other Latino communities rooted in New Jersey. The list of participants includes: LLANJ Chairman Paul Perez, Dennys Talavera, Julio Pabon, Willie Sanchez, Felipe Luciano, Council Members Luis Velez from Paterson, Luis Quintana from Newark, and Carlos Menchaca from New York City, Lydia Valencia, PR Congress, Dr. Edwin Melendez, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, Hector Bonilla, Sonia Rosado, Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz, South Hackensack Mayor Yris Encarnacion, Heidy Hernandez, Gino Hernandez, Sebastian Rodriguez, Ariagna Perello, Julio Malone, Juana Edmond, Commissioners Altagracia Barcelo and Joel Ramirez, Rossanna Genao, Fernando Aquino, Teofilo Javier, Dr. Carlos Lugo, Erick Cedano, Rosa Vasquez Zaremba, Eduardo Peñaloza Pérez, Stephanie Rodriguez, Claudia Vazquez, Mario Solodkin, Alejandro Roman, Dr. Hector Castillo, Rev. David Rios,  Maria del Pilar, LLANJ Delegates Frank Miqueli and Jorge Ciprian, Jose Arango, Antonio Ibarria, Publisher of El Especialito, Nieves Pimienta, Sara Batres, Waldemar Ronquillo, Delfin Vazquez Vice President of the National Dominican American Council, Hon. Caridad Rigo, and Bergen County Freeholder Board President Germaine Ortiz.

In the Luncheon Plenary Session LLANJ President Nestor Montilla, Sr., will deliver the ‘State of New Jersey Latinos’ address.

The Luncheon Session also includes a special presentation titled America’s hidden Hispanic Heritage’ by Historian/Journalist Miguel Perez; and brief thoughts on empowerment by Mayors Wilda Diaz, Hector Lora, and Yris Encarnacion.

Governor Phil Murphy has been invited to address LLANJ delegates and conference attendees regarding how his administration is keeping the campaign promise to improve the socio-economic and political conditions of Latinos in the state of New Jersey.

Paul Perez, LLANJ Chairman, said: “Everyone is encouraged to participate as this historic Summit promises to bring forth, the non-partisan Latino advocacy agenda we urgently need to mobilize and empower our communities along the next decade.”

“This forum is an opportunity for leaders in the state to come together to construct a vision that will bring clarity to the voices of Latinos in New Jersey,” said Angela Harrington, executive secretary of the LLANJ Board of Delegates. “As a driving for change and mobility in higher education, Berkeley College is proud to host this important dialogue.”

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The Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey is the largest and only statewide non-partisan non-profit advocacy organization composed of local, regional and state community-based organizations, leaders and professionals advocating for the socio-economic and political development of New Jersey diverse